The Numismatic Luther
The Frederick J. and Joyce Schumacher Collection
Propagating the Reform of the Church
The Frederick J. and Joyce Schumacher Coin Collection
Propagating the Reform of the Church
The Frederick J. and Joyce Schumacher Coin Collection
The Frederick J. and Joyce Schumacher Coin Collection
This medal is from 1917, commemorating the 400th Anniversary of the Reformation. The obverse (the “head” of a medal or coin) of this medal, is only 1.13” in size, depicts Luther posting the Ninety-Five Theses, and the reverse has above Luther’s seal, the five-line inscription: “Here I stand / I cannot do / otherwise / God help me.”
Reverse of Figure 1
Figures 2 is an early copy of a medal cast in white medal attributed to the famous medalist, Friedrich Hagenauer, who worked in both Munich (1525-1527) and Augsburg (1527-1532). The observe is a bust of Luther, and the reverse is the monogram of Albrecht Dürer with “1526” below.
Reverse of Figure 2
This medal was created in 1661. Luther is on the obverse with encircling German text that reads, “Martin Luther Doctor of Holy Scriptures, Preacher and Professor at Wittenberg.” On the reverse is a view of the city of Eisleben, where Luther was born and the coin was issued. The legend on the reverse is “God’s Word and Luther’s teachings remain now and forever.”
Reverse of Figure 3
This medal from 1617 depicts a swan, a symbol that becomes a popular symbol on these coins and medals. Here, the swan appears alone swimming in the pond, but many medals have the swan shown with a goose. The Czech reformer Jan Hus, whose surname means “goose,” said before he was burned at the stake as a heretic in Constance in 1415, “Today you all bake a goose, but there comes a swan that you won’t be able to cook.” Luther declared himself the swan prophesied by Hus.
Reverse of Figure 4
This is one of the rarest medals of Luther from 1617; it depicts Luther and Hus facing one another, both holding Bibles in their hands.
Reverse of Figure 5
This 1717 silver medal shows Frederick the Wise holding a sword and Luther holding a light candle over a Bible, with the name of God in Hebrew radiating light from above. The text in German on the reverse in the upper legend reads, “Now that the light of the Word has been returned to Christianity through Luther’s faithful hand the Christian people now praise God for two hundred years.” The lower legend with its irregular capitalization is a chronogram. The words appear as: MartInVs LVtherVs theoLogIae DoCtor. The larger letters read as Roman numerals and added up, come to a sum of 1717. The obverse of the medal reads “VERBUM DOMINI MANET IN AETERNVM” from I Peter 1:25, “The Word of the Lord remains forever." These words are often abbreviated as VDMIAE or VDMA and were claimed as a motto by Frederick the Wise and the rulers that followed him. They appear on numerous medals and coins up to the present time.
Reverse of Figure 6
This medal is known as the “love taler” of 1717. The legend has the words “Catharina von Bora-Doctor Martin Luther’s Spouse” and the words successibus and foecundum, which seem to mean “fruitful in successors.” Extremely rare, this medal of Saxe-Meiningen commemorated the 200th Anniversary of the Reformation.
Reverse of Figure 7
In the twentieth century, on the 450th Anniversary of Luther’s birth in 1933, two- and five- silver Deutschemark coins were issued in Germany. This series was the last to be minted without Nazi symbolism in Germany before World War II. On both of these pieces, as on other German commemorative coins, wording is also placed on the rim of the coin; in this case, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.”
Reverse of Figure 8
Several five-Mark coins were produced, depicting places associated with Luther’s life, along with a lovely twenty-Mark piece. These coins were created for sale only to visitors to East Germany and collectors around the world but not for circulation among the people of East Germany—expressive of the tension inherent in wanting to claim Luther and make money on his birth year without enhancing the prestige of the church.
Reverse of Figure 9
The Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany), for its part, issued a five-Mark coin on November 10, 1983. The coin is 1.14” in copper-nickel with a stylized portrait of Luther based on a painting by Lucas Cranach the Elder. In the background of the Luther image are the titles of three of Luther’s most important works: his German translation of the Bible, his Small Catechism, and his treatise on The Freedom of a Christian.
Reverse of Figure 10
This medal depicts the pope—but when it is rotated 180 degrees, the pope turns into the devil. The reverse side shows a cardinal who is rotated to become a fool or a court jester. There were many coins that were created and widely distributed as a means of propaganda.
Reverse of Figure 11
Made in 1519, the Bust of Luther faces left with tonsure and friar’s robe and below ANN ETA XXXVI (At age 36). On the reverse side, there is a Phoenix rising from ashes and below in Latin text SIC TANDEM (So at last).
Reverse of Figure 12
This medal is a portrait of ANNES; GIVS with electoral hat, cape, and shouldered sword with his coat-of-arms below. The surrounding inscription reads: VERBVM DOMINI MANET IN AETERNV (The word of the Lord remains forever). On the reverse, there is a portrait facing right of FRID (ERICVS) with the electoral hat, cape, and shouldered sword and below his coat-of-arms. The surrounding inscription reads SECVLVM LVTHERANVM.
Reverse of Figure 13
This next medal is presented with an open Bible with a lighted candle that is suspended above a Bible. To the left, a hand reaches through a cloud pointing at what appears to be a serpent wearing a tiara whose body extends down and wraps itself around the Bible and appears to be attempting to extinguish the candle. There is an encircling inscription with chronogram. On the reverse, a lighthouse with a cross on the front with a large burning flame on the top with rays extending out to a harbor. The land is in the background and in view is a sailboat with its sails extended on the right. Beneath the lighthouse is a shield with a key inside separating the encircling inscription.
Reverse of Figure 14
This medal is the first of three struck in 1717 that give support to the argument given in 1961 by Professor Irwin Iserloh (a Roman Catholic Ecumenist and theologian at the University of Münster) that Luther did not nail the 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church on October, 31,1517, but simply sent it to his Bishop. On the obverse side there is a full figure of tonsured Luther in monk’s habit nailing the 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. On the reverse, YHWH with rays extending out to a woman in a robe (personification of the City of Augsburg) holding in her left hand the Augsburg Confession and in her right hand a heart giving off a flame of fire. She stands before a lit candle and open Bible on a large pillar (altar). The Bible is open to what translates as “The Word of the Lord remains forever.”
Reverse of Figure 15
This medal depicts full figures, left to right, of Luther and Melanchthon walking with Jesus and pointing to a house. The setting sun with rays extending above the horizon is reminiscent of the Road to Emmaus. On the reverse, there is a full image of Luther standing on tiled floor with his left hand pointing to a candle on the table and with his right hand cutting the wick so the flame will grow brighter.
Reverse of Figure 16
This medal is from Amsterdam. Luther is standing under a cloud out of which shine rays of light and the hand of God is reaching through the clouds to crown Luther’s head with a wreath. Luther’s right hand holds a lighted candle and his left holds an open Bible resting on an altar with the inscription, “Oh Lord, your word is everlasting; it stands firm in the heavens.” The Bible rests on an altar covered with a parament on which is Luther's coat-of-arms. Luther appears to be stomping on a papal tiara, encyclicals and various books. On Luther’s right, a swan stands holding an olive branch in its beak. Encircling the medal reads a Dutch inscription, “The Second Jubilee…of the Reformation Door which Dr. M. Luther began in the Year of our Lord 1517.” On the reverse, there is a sun with rays breaking through clouds on sides with strong winds from two faces in the clouds. There is a mountain with a doomed pagan temple and a long-haired woman kneeling, depicting Truth.
Reverse of Figure 17
This contemporary medal from 1999 is reproduced from the obverse of the 1717 medal; the reverse was replaced with the image expressive of the Albany, NY Congregation’s 350th Anniversary: a swan, a symbol of Luther, which was on the church’s original seal.
Reverse of Figure 18
Luther and John Calvin are looking right, separating the inscription of their names. On the reverse, there is an open Bible with rays of light extending out and at the bottom, an inscription: DEN 31 OCTOBER 1817. The text inscribed on the Bible reads, “The Bible, that is the entire Holy Scripture.”
Reverse of Figure 19
This medal depicts Luther facing forward with the Bible in his right hand and a finger of his left hand pointing to his mouth. On the reverse side, there is a figure of Luther holding a lit candle in a stand in his left hand and closed Bible under his left arm while withdrawing a large curtain with tassels to reveal Christ. Christ stands full length under a triangle with the name of God, YHWH on it. Rays of light from God extend down to Christ who with his left hand appears to assist in the opening of the curtain. With his right hand, Christ points to a chalice on a rock.
Reverse of Figure 20
Jesus in a cloud extends his arm to crown a female figure symbolizing Religion kneeling on a rock. She holds a book in her hands as she shoulders a large cross. On her left is a man with a hat disguised as a Protestant clergyman holding a “liberty pole" (a symbol of revolution or independence). On her right is the Pope with a tiara standing before a chair. The encircling inscription reads, “See I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have!” Rev. 3. 11. On the reverse reads, “God’s Word and Luther’s teachings do not pass away now or ever, or will ever be forgotten.”
Reverse of Figure 21
This bronze medal shows four reformers in a circle: Luther, Knox, Calvin, and Zwingli looking toward one another. On the reverse side, there is a woman with a pole with a hat on it next to the altar.
Reverse of Figure 22
On the obverse, Luther is facing slightly right, while on the reverse, there is a man climbing a ladder to post the 95 Theses with a crowd watching.
Reverse of Figure 23
This quarter bust of Luther is facing slightly right in a robe with a tied collar and to the right is an inscription: MARTIN LUTHER 1483-1546. On the reverse is Luther facing left with his left hand holding the Theses to the door of the church and in his right hand, he is holding a hammer. There are two small circles containing Luther’s coat of arms with an open Bible.
Reverse of Figure 24
This large bronze medal includes Luther facing right with the encircling inscription: “A Might Fortress Is Our God.” On the reverse is Luther nailing the 95 Theses to the door of Castle Church. Above is an open Bible in a circle; below in a circle, the uplifted serpent on a cross, dividing John 3:14, 15 on a banner.
Reverse of Figure 25
This is the same medal as 25, but much smaller in size and in gold-tinted bronze.
Reverse of Figure 26
This medal has a loop with Luther facing right on the obverse. On the reverse, there is a two-thirds view of Luther with the left hand holding the Theses up against the door and the right hand raised with a hammer.
Reverse of Figure 27
On this medal, Luther is standing facing forward in a full length doctor’s robe and hat holding the 95 Theses. On the reverse side, there is a thirteen-line inscription of Theses 27.
Reverse of Figure 28
This medal was issued in Canada for the Centennial. Luther is facing slightly left in tonsure and monk’s habit. On the reverse, there is a map of Canada with a cross rising up from the center.
Reverse of Figure 29
This medal was issued in Germany in 2008 anticipating 2017: Pope Leo X. On the reverse is the Coat-of-Arms of the city of Wittenberg with the inscription: 500 Year Reformation.
Reverse of Figure 30
This is part of a series of 9 medals that are counting down to the 500th Anniversary that were issued over a seven-year period. The metal consists of anodized gold aluminum with a collector board for children, bronze, and .999 silver. The medals are: Luther in a Thunder Storm, Becomes a Priest, Visits Rome, Becomes a Doctor, Tower Experience, Frederick the Wise Block Tetzel from Entering Wittenberg, John Huss Burned at the Stake, Legend of Charles V visit to Luther’s Grave, and Luther Posts 95 Theses.
Reverse of Figure 31: Luther Vows to Become a Monk
Figure 32: Part of 31 series
Reverse of Figure 32: Luther Ordained A Priest
Figure 33: Part of 31 series
Reverse of Figure 33: Luther's Trip To Rome
Figure 34: Part of 31 series
Reverse of Figure 34: Martin Luther Made Doctor
Figure 35: Part of 31 series
Reverse of Figure 35: Martin Luther's "Tower" Revolution
Figure 36: Part of 31 series, Frederick the Wise Block Tetzel from Entering Wittenberg
Reverse of Figure 36
Figure 37: Part of 31 series, John Huss Burned at the Stake
Reverse of Figure 37
Made in 1715, this silver medal, with a loop, commemorates the 300th Anniversary of the death of Jan Hus. Hus is facing right. On the reverse, he is being burned at the stake.
Reverse of Figure 38
This medal depicts a bust of John Calvin facing right with encircling inscription, “1509 JOHANNAS CALVINUS REFORMATOR ECCLESLEVS. On the reverse, Calvin’s coat-of-arms is encircled by another inscription, “H. HENRY MEETER CHAPTER FOR CALVIN STUDIES. The inscription on the outer circle reads, “COR MEUM TIBI OFFERO DOMINE / PROMPTE ET SINCERE.”
Reverse of Figure 39
This is a small bronze rectangular plaque commemorating the 350th Anniversary of the Calvin Academy and College. The bust of Calvin is facing left in academic robes with the dates 1509-64. On the reverse is the Seal of Geneva with inscription.
Reverse of Figure 40
On the obverse, Calvin is facing forward. On the reverse, John Knox is facing left. This was issued in 1971.
Reverse of Figure 41
This is a German 10 Mark Commemorative coin in honor of Philipp Melanchthon’s 500th birth year in 1997.
Reverse of Figure 42
This medal depicts the busts of Luther and Philipp Melanchthon. On the reverse is Christian Beyer presenting the Augsburg Confession to the Emperor Charles V who is seated on a chair that has been raised up and covered with a canopy in front of the Imperial Seal.
Reverse of Figure 43
Luther and Melanchthon stand on either side of a lectern with open Bible. On the reverse, is a presentation of the Augsburg Confession to Charles V.
Reverse of Figure 44
Luther and Melanchthon, on this medal, appear to be slightly center with Luther’s coat-of-arms above them. On the reverse, there is an image of St. Matthew’s Church with the encircling inscription, “St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church, White Plains, NY 85th Anniversary April 28, 1980.
Reverse of Figure 45
Figure 46: Same as medal 45
Reverse of Figure 46
This medal depicts side by side busts looking right of Kaiser Karl V. and Philip Melanchthon. On the reverse, nine princes are presenting the Augsburg Confession to Emperor Charles V.
Reverse of Figure 47
On the obverse side, there is a large image of Luther with the heading, “What Would Luther Do Today” with his tools of communication in the 16th century and with what he would use today. On the reverse side, there are images of Luther’s coat-of-arms, publishing trademark, cover of prayer book published by the ALPB, and images of tracts, one of the first ministries of the ALPB.
Reverse of Figure 48
Commemorating the Forced Exile of Protestants from Salzburg. Shown is an exiled family walking with sticks in hand looking up to the All-Seeing Eye of God (Year of our Lord 1732). On the reverse, there is a cloud leading them.
Reverse of Figure 49
Made in 1839, this medal was made in commemoration of the 300th Anniversary of the Reformation in Prussia: Frederick Wilhelm and Joachim II of Brandenburg are on the obverse side. On the reverse is a scene of the First Communion under the newly unified Prussian Union (Lutheran and Reformed Churches now receiving communion together in Spandau).
Reverse of Figure 50
Made in 1929, this is the anniversary of Luther’s Catechism: Luther is standing half-length holding a Bible in his left hand and his right hand fist is placed on the cover. On the reverse, Luther Rose is shown with encircling text: “God’s Word and Luther’s Doctrine Pure Shall Now and Evermore Endure.”
Reverse of Figure 51
Made in 1971 Luther is on one knee holding the 95 Theses and next to his right foot is a Bible with broken chains. On the reverse, shown is a bust of Luther facing slightly right. It was issued in 1971 by Ralph Menconi in a series of medals on the world religions.
Reverse of Figure 52
50th Anniversary of Zion Lutheran Church, Glendale, California: Luther posting the 95 Theses with encircling inscription, “Hammer Blows Heard Around the World.” On the reverse side, there is an image of Glendale Church.
Reverse of Figure 53
Made in 1973, on the obverse is Luther looking right with the image of the Wartburg Castle in the background and encircling inscription, “A Mighty Fortress is our God – Martin Luther 1483-1546.” On the reverse, reads “First Evangelical Lutheran Church, Redlands, California.” This script encircles an image of the church and above the church, Luther’s coat-of-arms, a cloud, the church steeple with a cross at the top, and the United States Liberty Bell with the dates “1776 / 1976.”
Reverse of Figure 54
Made in 1979, this is the 450th Anniversary of the debate between Luther and Ulrich Zwingli in Marburg over Holy Communion and the presence of Christ in the elements; Luther and Zwingli are looking toward one another with the City of Marburg in the background.
Reverse of Figure 55
Made in 1994, this brown porcelain (Meissen) medal commemorates the 450th Anniversary of the Consecration of the Castle Church. On the obverse, Luther is looking off to the right. On the reverse, there is an image of Castle Door engraved with the 95 Theses. There are over 20 porcelain Reformation related medals in this collection.
Reverse of Figure 56
Made in 1997 to commemorate the 500th birth year of Philipp Melanchthon. Shown is Melanchthon baptizing a baby after an image of Cranach the Elder of the Seven Marks of the Church on an altar in St. Mary’s in Wittenberg. On the reverse is St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church, White Plains, NY at Worship.
Reverse of Figure 57
500th Anniversary of the birth of Katharina von Bora. This bust of Katharina is based on a painting by Cranach the Elder. On the reverse depicts the marriage of Luther and Katharina (1525) with the hand of Johann Bugenhagen giving nuptial blessing. The cross in the background expresses Luther’s teachings that in the vocation of marriage, one finds the cross to be taken up.
Reverse of Figure 58
Made in 2000, this is a $25 gold coin that was issued by the Republic of Liberia in honor of Luther. He is facing slightly left. On the reverse, there is a scene of a tropical shore with an anchor and a palm tree. In the background, there is a sailing ship with a rising sun on the horizon. The banner reads, “The Love of Liberty Brought Us Here.”
Reverse of Figure 59
Made in 2000, this commemorates the 225th Anniversary of the Spruce Run Evangelical Lutheran Zion Church, Lebanon Township, NJ. On the reverse, there is a scene of Luther administering Holy Communion.
Reverse of Figure 60
Made in 2001, Martin Luther and John Huss sit at Jesus' feet while he is on the cross.
Made in 2011, this copper medal was issued early to commemorate the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation: quarter bust of Luther on the obverse, not pictured, and the Swan of Wittenberg breaking through Roman system of Indulgences for the building of St. Peter's Basilica.
This medal shows an image of an older Luther than the time of posting. On the reverse side, Luther is standing and speaking to a crowd of people with a book in hand and pointing to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg where people are reading the 95 Theses. The inscription reads, “With God begun Wittenberg October 31, 1517.”
On the obverse, Luther is facing right and on the reverse side, depicted are the doors to Castle Church with Theses and above Door Cranach the Elder’s image of Luther and Frederick the Wise kneeling in prayer on either side of the crucifix.
This medal depicts the bust of Luther in robe with tied collar and a doctor’s cap with John the Steadfast in a fur collar and cap. On the reverse, there is a view of the Coburg Castle where Luther stayed during the Diet of Augsburg.
On the obverse of this 1528 coin, Luther is standing in the midst of several persons, speaking to them with his left hand raised and his right hand is holding a Bible. Above the image is a banner, REFORMATION, and in exergue: Spirit is what makes us alive.
Made in 1859, commemorating the 300th Anniversary of the Reformed Church in France. Shown are delegates to national meeting gathered in prayer surrounding the table with closed Bible, plumed pens, inkwells and paper below the date of the meeting. On the obverse is an open Bible to text in Matthew 24: 35.
This is a one-sided plaque commemorating the 400th Anniversary of Luther before the Diet of Worms: Luther is facing right after a painting by Cranach the Elder and below is a scene of Luther standing before the Emperor Charles V.
The Numismatic Luther